Hoax Blu-ray Review


Bigfoot Reality Show Becomes A Bloodbath

Hunting for Bigfoot in the forests of Colorado, a sleazy reality show producer gets more than he bargained for in Hoax. Dragging along a rag-tag team of true believers, scientists and skeptics into the wilds, soon after a group of horny college kids are mysteriously slaughtered, reality television confronts a gruesome fate. Decently suspenseful and engaging enough to satisfy the demands of picky horror fans, Hoax delivers the right combo of fun and thrills.

Hoax combines familiar horror tropes into a peppy pastiche. Featuring familiar genre actors Brian Thompson, Ben Browder and Adrienne Barbeau hamming it up, the winning ensemble cast know their way around b-movie acting and show it in Hoax.

Director Matt Allen’s horror thriller is more than a simple creature flick. The low-budget movie shows surprising craftsmanship, taking inspirational cues from classic genre hits such as Carpenter’s The Fog, sneaking in homages to a wide array of memorable action and horror scenes. Getting composer Alan Howarth to score your horror movie adds a touch of experienced genre filmmaking.

Hoax delivers the right combo of fun and thrills

Set in the beautiful outdoors of Colorado, Hoax sees a disparate group of characters, everyone from a scheming journalist to a grieving father, end up confronting a danger that lurks near their base camp. A sly parody of reality shows from behind the scenes, they go looking for a Bigfoot almost none of them expect to find. The group is mostly there for a paycheck, only for the situation to escalate out of anyone’s control.

Hoax has a somewhat uneven tone that actually works to its benefit, mixing humor with pure horror scares. There are the cheesy, predictably plotted characters, cliches plucked from horror filmmaking, clashing with the lighter reality show elements. The plot does take time building in intensity, after the retro opening sees a group of horny couples get taken out in bloody style. Allen takes his time developing the characters, which some might find slow if you don’t get the ironic humor and subtle spoofing of genre elements. It all builds to a crazy finale worth the wait.

Indie horror thrillers sometimes work by embracing their b-movie roots and Hoax works because of it. The low-budget film doesn’t have the greatest FX but wisely uses its veteran cast, including a great homage with Brian Thompson to Predator.

Video

Hoax looks fantastic for low-budget horror with impressive cinematography and beautifully scenic aerial shots of Colorado’s forests. Filmed with RED cameras, the razor-sharp 1080P video boasts great definition and stark clarity. The 2.39:1 presentation exudes depth and dimensionality in spades. Nearly flawless, the video’s only real weakness is an AVC encode that produces some posterization and errant noise.

The 95-minute main feature is included on a BD-25. Exterior shots possess immense levels of details and generous texture in nigh perfect clarity. Darker shots offer fine shadow delineation and black levels. Hoax on Blu-ray must resemble the movie’s digital intermediate and the filmmakers’ best intentions. It’s a superior presentation free of any visual issues that would distract from the viewing experience.

Audio

Epic Pictures via its Dread label hasn’t been a big supporter of lossless audio on Blu-ray. Hoax only receives 5.1 Dolby Digital for its primary soundtrack. There is adequate channel separation to the mix with moderate rear activity. Hoax has intelligible dialogue and decent sound design. This is serviceable audio with fine dynamics. The indie thriller’s best audio feature is its score composed by Alan Howarth, no stranger to scoring genre fare for names like John Carpenter and Sam Raimi.

Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles play in a stark yellow font, remaining inside the 2.39:1 presentation at all times. A secondary 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack is available.

Extras

Reversible cover art is included. This is a comparatively loaded set for indie horror, with two separate commentaries and a surplus of featurettes. Pretty much everyone in the main cast gets interviewed. The Brian Thompson interview is a hoot as he reveals his secrets for surviving on the set of a low-budget movie.

Audio Commentary With Ben Browder and Cheryl Texiera – This cast commentary isn’t quite as engaging as the second commentary with crew members, but offers a different perspective less focused on filmmaking.

Audio Commentary With Crew Members – Director Of Photography Scott Park, production designer Chris Canfield, and co-writers Robert Davis and Matt Allen hold a jovial group commentary as they discuss various behind-the-scenes topics.

Featurettes (64:51 in HD) – Eleven different featurettes and interviews delve into making Hoax with both cast and crew members making contributions. They include Cast & Story Overview, Bigfoot: Real or Hoax, Cheryl Texiera, Ben Browder, Brian Thompson, Shoshana Bush, Hutch Dano, Max Decker, Made In Colorado, Adrienne Barbeau, and Composer Alan Howarth.

Hoax Trailer A (00:30 in HD)

Hoax Trailer B (01:24 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Hoax
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

A pastiche of familiar horror tropes turns out smoothly due to the engaging cast and storytelling in this Bigfoot thriller.

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